ELECTRICIANS AT the Piccadilly site in Manchester have now been locked out for 20 weeks by their employers, DAF Electrical. We were employed on the £30 million project on a self-employed basis. We noticed that management were employing unskilled workers to carry out electrical work on a lower wage.
As well as breaking agreements on pay for electricians this was extremely unsafe. We decided to form a TGWU union shop but management refused to recognise us, saying that they would only deal with the Amicus union. It should be up to workers, not management, to decide which union we belong to. We were removed from the payroll, which led to a walkout at the site. We have been locked out since.
Our industrial tribunal has now been put back to April 2004. The Piccadilly project has been completed, so we have moved our picket line to the next site, the Manchester law court building, which we were due to move to. We have turned away 12 electricians from the site in the last week. We are receiving support from the whole trade union movement and we believe that in the end our solidarity will win.
We hope that in future Manchester council will consult construction unions to prevent rogue companies obtaining work. Construction workers are human beings not pieces of meat. They risk their lives daily in one of the most hazardous industries of all.
Our employer still has not paid the money we are owed, including holiday pay. They still employ unskilled workers to do electrical duties unsupervised. Some of the outside lights of the Piccadilly gardens are upside down, which means there is no waterproof protection. We all know electricity and water do not mix.
We will not go away until justice is served. We are as determined as ever.
For more information phone 07813 456 831.